Don’t Overwork Anything this Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday season is upon us.  In part I of our II part series, we’ll focus on food facts to get you through the holidays.  We’ll also explore some tips to keep your holiday stress-free.  In part II, we’ll look at some foods to avoid while watching the football games, and what can be substituted instead.

thanksgiving dinnerThe most important thing you can do this holiday season is not overwork your jaw.  That might seem like a tall order. After all, Thanksgiving is about gathering around the table to eat and talk. What could be harder on your jaw than those activities?

Gobble Gobble 

The good news is that if you suffer from TMD, you don’t need to scratch turkey off your Thanksgiving dinner menu. Turkey is not only an acceptable food choice, it’s also a wonder meat!  Its advantages are so numerous, it’s a shame we only celebrate Thanksgiving once a year.

Turkey is low in fat. In fact, it has less fat than many other meats including, chicken pork and beef.  It  has fewer calories compared to other meats.  Turkey is lower in cholesterol and has fewer saturated fats than other meats, and it is a great source of protein.  Sodium? You guessed it. Turkey has lower sodium content than other meats, too.  So get carving!

Stuffing is in

Turkey stuffing is a Thanksgiving staple, and  it’s an acceptable food choice for TMD sufferers. That’s because stuffing is primarily made up of bread, seasonings and cooked vegetables.  It’s a soft, healthy side dish.  But beware. There are thousands of variations to family stuffing recipes.   Some recipes call for chopped pecans, pine nuts and even pineapple!  Make sure you ask what’s in the stuffing before you dig in.

Everything in between

For the countless other side dishes served up this holiday season, make sure you use common sense.  Avoid hard, crunchy foods. Make sure you take small portion sizes and make sure you cut all your food into small pieces.

Just say no

The holiday is not solely about food choices.   Relaxing your jaw also means avoiding stress. The single most important thing you can do to reduce stress is to learn when to say “no.” Set personal limitations.  Don’t overeat.  When you’re bloated, not only do you feel uncomfortable, you also feel guilty. And that will put you on the fast track to feeling stressed and anxious.

You don’t have to do it all

Ask for help. You don’t have to do all the shopping, cooking, and cleaning in preparation for the holidays.  Many family members prefer to help—it’s better than awkwardly standing around while you do all the work.   Ask others to bring dishes to the feast as well.

And don’t be afraid to pre-order dishes or desserts from a local deli or restaurant.  No one expects you to be Betty Crocker and slave away over every dish served!

From all of us at the MedCenter TMJ, we wish you a healthy, happy and blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

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